Friday, December 19, 2008

From CCIE R&S to CCIP

While it's still fresh in my mind, I thought I'd put a little guide together for those who already have their R&S CCIE and want to work on the CCIP. One of the struggles I've found is there is very little study material out there geared directly toward the CCIP, aside of course from the exams that overlap with CCNP and CCVP.

I'd recommend taking the exams in the following order:
1. BSCI. If you already have a CCNP, you may have already passed the exam. I do find it strange that a CCIE R&S doesn't waive this requirement. I last passed the BSCI in 2002, so I needed to retake this. The only topic in the exam that is not really covered by R&S is IS-IS. This is a topic on the service provider blueprint, so take the opportunity to get some studying done on it.

2. QoS. You should already be pretty familiar with QoS from the CCIE R&S.

3. For the brave, go for BGP+MPLS. I will definitely say I found this to be one of the toughest exams I've taken. It's certainly up there on the CCIE Written calibur of exams. There are lots of very tricky questions that you have to pay close attention to. There's also an abundance of questions from obscure topics that I would have expected to be a small part of the exam.

4. Otherwise, go for BGP separately from MPLS. I did take the BGP exam as well, and found it to be MUCH simpler than BGP+MPLS. Of course having a CCIE R&S means you should already know BGP pretty well. Now I never did take the MPLS exam, so I cannot comment on it.

For BGP+MPLS, the following resources are very helpful. Make sure to know them inside and out. There were some more obscure topics that I could only find covered in the these links.

MPLS Virtual Private Network Enhancements
BGP Case Studies
Cisco Express Forwarding Overview
Configuring Cisco Express Forwarding
BGP: Frequently Asked Questions
MPLS Configuration on Cisco IOS Software (Book)

Also make sure to spend some time on MPLS technology labs from your vendor of choice. Internetwork Expert has a great price on an SP bundle, which includes Class on Demand.

Good luck!

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